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Google’s first all-hands after 2016 election [video] (breitbart.com)
298 points by Domenic_S on Sept 12, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 456 comments

For those interested in watching the video without feeding into Brietbart's ad/engagement numbers, I've mirrored it here: https://yossarian.net/google.mp4

Here's an alternate mirror as well.

[link removed]

Edit: I'm removing my own copy, since I just realized I didn't set up a contact for that site, and I'd rather play it safe than sorry. Others have mirrored it, and one's on YouTube at present:


Why hasn’t anyone hosted it on YouTube yet? Serious question.


people have, but who knows how long it'll last

"Removed by user"

Thanks for the link. YouTube has a better mobile UX for me.

In my case, it was just easier to upload it to my own server.

As a notice (since the original post is too old to edit): I'm going to take that URL offline within the next 12 hours. Hopefully by then it'll be mirrored in enough other places.

I'm not positive I've done this correctly, but I tried uploading it to IPFS. If someone could let me know if that works, I'd appreciate it.

QmX5wjpMyWrtwHQnJ6L8BMAnUGgxwJqnoLbTCJbmWD1gqG - 720p

QmNPNYTMD95vc6PZtH5QFgLTj22cNkWm6TTCi7YGKY3kD3 - 270p

And in case my attempts were bungled, it's on a couple distributed YouTube alternatives as well, editorializing aside:



I've never tried to download something this big via IPFS, but navigating to https://ipfs.io/ipfs/<hash> seems to just hang

Sorry. It looks like I made a mistake while publishing initially. It should be working now. I was able to at least verify the lowres version.


I may have to do some finagling, since I'm new to IPFS, and never have dealt with files this large on IPFS either.


Looks like the highres version also should be working


Be wary of the legal implications. At minimum GOOG can probably claim copyright and do a DMCA takedown.

Wait, you mean there's bias in our media?

All joking aside- I remember watching ed Snowden go from being a "whistleblower" to a "leaker" in the space of 8 hours. I watched Alexandria ocasio Cortez go from a bold new voice to being portrayed as a know-nothing (in a pretty sexist way) in about 6 hours. I remember how all the media were creaming themselves with excitement over the wmd's they were going to find in Iraq. I observe how the crimes of saudi Arabia are getting papered over and not reported right now. So yeah.. not surprising.

> Alexandria ocasio Cortes go from a bold new voice to being portrayed as a know-nothing (in a pretty sexist way) in about 6 hours

Are you kidding ? She said US military was given $700 billion increase that they didn't ask for. She said that US unemployment is low becuase everyone has two jobs. She said ICE has to detain 34,000 people every night by law. http://www.politifact.com/personalities/alexandria-ocasio-co...

This 'if you criticise Democrat female politicians you must be sexist' line is incredibly annoying

Wow so her ICE quote would've been 100% correct if not for the word "required" (evidenced by what Politifact ends up admitting in the body of the article).

Is there a rating worse than "Pants On Fire" we could brand this liar with?

(I don't know about sexist but the media sure is dumb and pedantic as shit.)

Who wants to tell simula67 about Trump's relationship to reality?

She was criticized for being female regardless of her misconceptions on military spending and how many jobs people have. A huge chunk of the world doesn't give equal forgiving or demands of females as they do males - they demand more and forgive less. Ever looked at PolitiFact for just about every other politician? Just look at Serena Williams.. she blabbed and it may be the end of her career (or a lingering black eye)yet for other males in the sport, it just means the front page on the newspaper and nothing else the next day... We can't ignore this. I wouldn't want AI to shape the views of women any worse than they already are just as we shouldn't use targeted bias in user comments to make her look unique in light of her male counterparts than ran against her - of which they all have/had faults and screw ups themselves.

> She was criticized for being female

No, she wasn't. There are lots of successful female politicians. She was criticized for being a moron.

Yes, she was. It's a systemic problem in American society. Your comment is essentially proof of your bias. Unless you want to back it up and say everyone is a moron because once again, everyone has said things that could categorically quantify them as a moron - but your holding HER and specifically HER to a special case.

>every criticism of a woman is a criticism because she’s a woman


keep kidding yourself (oh, and so glad you can downvote instead of have honest discussion)

It’s aactually not possible to downvote someone who replies to you. So it wasn’t me.

Anyway, keep telling yourself that you understand people’s motives, and that they’re bad. In the real world, sexism and racism are not nearly as extreme as you’d think from the perspective of the tumblr echo chamber.

> She was criticized for being female

I've read a lot of critique of O-C but never "for being female". Could you quote some critique like that so that it would be clear what do you mean? I honestly absolutely can't even imagine how such thing would look like: "We know O-C is female and thus unfit to hold an elective office..." or what? Name the most hostile press outlet to O-C outside wacko forums and 4chan and it would never dare to print something like that. Sure, there are sexists here and there, but openly and publicly criticizing a major political figure "for being female"? It's just rhetorical suicide. You must mean something else, but what?

>> she blabbed and it may be the end of her career

This is a terrible overstatement. It's not even the first time she has fought against an ump, and not even the worst she has said. End of career lol.

What media are you talking about? I Googled in Google News for Alexandria ocasio Cortes, and almost all of the coverage I found from mainstream publications was positive.

I checked and results are very different if you spell her name with a z, as she does.

Ahhh....OK. I copy/pasted the spelling from the comment I replied to. It didn't occur to me to check to see if it was spelled right there.

I don't see a difference, or much in the way of attack articles

The "s" page had a bunch of month-old stuff. The "z" page was more recent news. I just rechecked and it's mostly the same way (though we're already in a different news cycle). When I check previously, 4 out the first 5 links were negative. Now, it's 3 out of 6. (Different news cycle)




Thanks, corrected

Cortes's portrayal however seems pretty spot on to me.

Wow, they are still using Dory. That is the question collecting software that Taliver Heath wrote. It was a pretty brilliant idea, people submit questions and other people vote the questions up (or down) and top ranked questions get selected automatically.

Its interesting to think about Brietbart putting this out there as some 'evil' thing, given what their all hands meeting would have looked like if the election had gone the other way. But from a tech perspective its always destabilizing to endorse a political ideology just like it is destabilizing to endorse a religious ideology in what is a collective for economic output.

That said, the previous tech position of 'hands off' (very limited engagement except for very specific technical issues like ITAR restrictions on strong crypto) did not do tech any favors when it came to legislation. I'm not sure what the answer is here other than "its complicated."

> Its interesting to think about Brietbart putting this out there as some 'evil' thing,

Never worked at Google, but as they say it went about as I would have expected based on my outside perspective. Or at least I wasn't stunned by anything in particular...

Overall I think what people dislike is the disconnect between the PR message of "all opinions are welcome / we are open / neutral" vs the reality of them being fairly uniform in political affiliation. I think they might do better to just own it and stop pretending. Say something like "yeah we are biased and proud of it and we stand firm behind these values etc."

Just because there’s a semi-uniform political bend doesn’t mean they’re biased in product. The ACLU backed the KKK’s right to March, but clearly doesn’t stand with the KKK’s values.

That’s something the Breitbart audience can’t wrap their mind around, as they’d never do the same.

> That’s something the Breitbart audience can’t wrap their mind around, as they’d never do the same.

Which clearly reveals _your_ bias. Well done.

You can't compare Google to the ACLU.

The ACLU has a track record defending free speech and freedom of expression. As long as the speech and expression does not contravene any laws the ACLU will defend it – it's irrelevant to them what values the speech and expression they are defending promotes or espouses. And, when you think about it, it's very unlikely that the ACLU will be forced to defend speech and expression nobody has a problem with so they are going to be defending speech and expression that gets peoples backs up.

Google on the other hand has no consistent track record of being neutral when it comes to content on their platforms. There's no transparency and insight into their deliberation processes. So if the group-think at Google comes down on one side or the other and they don't have a hands-off approach then that's very worrying. Of course, if you subscribe to Google's version of reality then you're going to be very happy with that but if you don't then too bad for you. If tech companies want to alienate a good chunk of their user base then they better be prepared for the backlash up to and including regulation and migration away to services that do a better job at upholding the ideals of free speech and expression.

> As long as the speech and expression does not contravene any laws the ACLU will defend it – it's irrelevant to them what values the speech and expression they are defending promotes or espouses.

Not anymore:


There is an interesting overview of the ACLU as part of the labor movement On Sept 7th's On The Media, entitled One Hundred Years Of Free Speech. https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/one-hundred-years-free-spe...

I’m not google. I don’t have to reject or hide my bias, and in fact this forum is exactly for positing ones bias. And reading the comments on Breitbart what I said should become self-evident.

Google has been very consistent in showing its bias for an open, connected, free world where quality information is accessible. It was formed by immigrants, and has been vocal in their importance. The Trump campaign was the exact opposite of all of these things... a closed world busting traditional order apart, kicking out those “rapist criminal” immigrants, equating any quality information that disagreed as “fake news” despite the election has an unprecedented amount of actually fake and totally fabricated news spreading like wildfire to sell online ads. AdWords got caught up in it, and that had very real world consequences.

That’s what the reaction was, and it feels appropriate to me. That was a very somber day, and to many of us who believed in a free and open world it felt like a day of mourning.

All that said, doesn’t mean Google hasn’t been and can’t be neutral to data. If they aren’t, then they lose business and open themselves up to lawsuits as a monopoly abusing their power. Nothing you’ve said points to the fact that they’ve actually silenced “non-left” news. And having worked there twice, the culture I observed is such that they’d never want to do such things. It’s antithetical to their world view to silence political viewpoints (as opposed to genuinely made up clickbait garbage for the soul purpose of ads).

> Google has been very consistent in showing its bias for an open, connected, free world where quality information is accessible

I guess that's why they've been working with China to create censored sub-internet?

> It was formed by immigrants,

It was formed by Page and Brin, only Brin can be classified as "immigrant" and even him not of his own volition - he was brought in the US by his parents when he was 6.

> Nothing you’ve said points to the fact that they’ve actually silenced “non-left” news.

If by "silenced" you mean completely prevented access, then yes, Google does not have this power. Fortunately, almost nobody does. Biasing the picture, though, is another matter. US politics as it is now is often balancing on results of pretty close elections, and couple of thousands of votes thrown either way can do a lot. Google has access to data about billions, including vast majority of people in the US. People at Google are not shy about proclaiming at which side there are, and some also not shy about declaring they utter lack of respect and tolerance to the other side. Maybe there's a line they still would not cross and that line is way before it could influence any work decisions - but how exactly we can know that and believe that?

> And having worked there twice, the culture I observed is such that they’d never want to do such things

Are you sure that your acknowledged bias did not make you miss the willingness to suppress views that both you and your peers vehemently disagree with and hold despicable?

> It’s antithetical to their world view to silence political viewpoints

It's not what it looks like on the outside, at least. Just throw in "it's ok to be intolerant to those bad outgroup people" and you're in the clear. I don't see any hard commitment to free speech from Google. Maybe the people you've encountered that have this commitment are not actually those who dictate the policies?

> Just because there’s a semi-uniform political bend doesn’t mean they’re biased in product

Surely. But that seems to be a basic assumptions in these quarters - if you hold certain views, they can't but influence who you are and how you do all things, including work. Isn't that the premise Damore and others were fired under? Isn't that the premise people get disinvited from tech conferences under - even if their politics has nothing to do with technology, their presence and others knowing about it can't but influence the interactions with them and the products they create, consciously or unconsciously.

But it can not work only in some cases - if we recognize that these things are unseparable, then it becomes impossible to claim Google being biased hard to the left has no influence on their decisions, including product decisions.

Example: if somebody who is working on search rankings writes an ML model to define what "reputable source" looks like, and by nature of their views they read only left-leaning publications, then the model will be trained in majority on such publications as "reputable", and would likely treat non-left-leaning ones as less reputable. Even without explicit intention of bias, the bias would be there. Moreover, since most of the people in Google would hold the same views, nobody would notice that bias as the output of the model would look exactly like they expect it to look.

> doesn’t mean they’re biased in product.

What is their product? Sure, if product is Android OS, or some wearable devices, yes, they are not biased anyone can buy and use them.

But are they also involved in filtering news, manipulating search results, tracking phone locations, hosting emails, selling ads, censoring or not censoring youtube videos etc.

Then "products" is not the only way a company like Google is effecting change in the world. They match employee donations to charitable organizations, they lobby the government (more than Verizon, military contractors and Wall St. banks), work with the government on drone AI software. Now they are thinking of moving back into China's market with all the privacy implications there, etc.

I think they are far from a "but they are just making a product and selling it, so leave them alone" type of company.

And of course, we might say here that Google's values match with ours so we'll give them the benefit of the doubt. And even though their executives cry on camera after their political candidate loses, when they turn around and go to lobby the government or to police youtube videos, they'll regain their cool and be unbiased. I'd like to believe that, but sure we can see why others might not.

> But from a tech perspective its always destabilizing to endorse a political ideology just like it is destabilizing to endorse a religious ideology in what is a collective for economic output.

Is it destabilizing at all? The British Empire, one of the world's most economically successful projects, had its own religious ideology. The US has a "Protestant work ethic." When have we historically seen the adoption of religion as destabilizing?

It might be wrong, sure, but I don't think we have evidence to conclude that it's unprofitable.

Didn't catholics in britain have a hard time og it for some period? Didn't that contribute to internal instability? Or am i misrecalling history lessons?

Much earlier period in history before there was a United Kindom.

Yes, a much earlier period that ended in the distant past of 1998. Sectarian violence is now limited to pubs and football matches rather than high explosive.

There absolutely was internal instability, but if the claim is "Your company should not adopt a political worldview, you will at most be as economically successful as Britain between 1534 and 1998," that's... not much of a cautionary story at all.

That wasn't/isn't just about religion though, it's about foreign rule, colonialism and national identity as well.

And about to kick off again thanks to Brexit, because it was never really solved, just pushed aside for long enough for people (particularly people in Westminster) to start to forget.

This is true but whether it was profitable is a separate question. On which see Weber 1905 and the recent economics literature!

"(00:54:33) An employee asks what Google is going to do about “misinformation” and “fake news” shared by “low-information voters.” Pichai responds by stating that “investments in machine learning and AI” are a “big opportunity” to fix the problem."

Anyone find this disturbing? They're trying to use AI to manipulate what users 'should' see?

That is literally what Google was founded on. Their core technology behind their initial success was pagerank, an algorithm whose sole purpose is to manipulate what people see. They have stayed dominant through a combination of market forces, and keeping their algorithm near (or, IMO at) the top of the market for generalized search [0], and have leveraged this competency in other markets (video, ads, etc).

Beyond just Google, this is an inevitable result of having any which resembles the internet we know today. The alternative is to go back to human gatekeepers. While it is arguable if human gatekeepers are better from a consumption standpoint, it is clear that they are worse from a production standpoint, as it massivly increases the barriers to publication.

[0] In actuality, I suspect that Google's "algorithm" involves a fair bit of "cheating" by having humans nudge the results. Political bias aside, I think not doing this would leave them too open to attack from other players in the market who do.

I value political neutrality in the workplace, so I have a lot of in-principle issues with what is being shown here right from the get-go. I didn't wind the video back to find the exact quote, but we now have publicised evidence of senior leadership at Google who stood up and said 'obviously our values are not the same as a big chunk of Americans'. Clearly a lot of them are specific Hillary supporters, a candidate so unelectable she lost to Trump.

There is a practical difference between pagerank, which is a transparent algorithm, and a non-transparent magic algorithm that is controlled by a group who are clearly not engaged with the idea of corporate political neutrality. Taking the views expressed here as a starting point, logically why shouldn't they try to tilt the election result using their power?

EDIT I'm just going to add this in because it just doesn't sit well. It shouldn't acceptable for leadership in a workplace to stand up and express pain and dismay at the outcome of a democratic process.

Pagerank is just one factor in a much more complicated algorithm. The full algorithm has always been secret, because SEO is a thing. If you demand a transparent algorithm, you're giving up search that actually works.

However, at a meta-level, there is some public information about how Google decides whether a change is making things better or worse. This doesn't tell you how the algorithm works, but it shows the goal they're optimizing for.

Google has "over 10,000 human raters" that rate search engine results. I don't know how they choose the raters, but presumably it's a variety of people in each country. You can read about them here:


Also, the guidelines that the human raters are supposed to follow are public, and you can read them here:


>I value political neutrality in the workplace

Political neutrality is just political support of the status quo. That is a perfectly acceptable political stance to take, but you should recognize it is still a political stance.

Neutrality is different than support for the status quo. The status quo actually requires constant political activity to maintain. It's changed dramatically in the past decade. To support the status quo you would have had to restrict politics to e.g. Hillary Clinton on one side Marco Rubio on the other. You might consider that "neutrality" but I think what GP meant was rather that they prefer colleagues and management not to talk politics at all.

Granted, most people say political neutrality and they mean a homeostasis for what they like, but some people can say the word and mean it -- such as a YouTube platform that really just doesn't look at what gets posted.

By definition, neutrality is not support of anything.

Imagine you are a parent of two children, one 10 years old and the other 7. The two children are fighting with each other. What is the result of staying neutral in that argument? If you don't intervene the 10 year old is almost certainly going to win because they are likely stronger and more mature. By not intervening you are tacitly endorsing the 10 year old's power of the 7 year old.

The same thing applies in any fight/conflict/argument/debate when there is a power imbalance including in politics. This is most obvious in debates about civil rights. When it comes to those issues if you don't support an oppressed people you are endorsing the continue oppression of that people.

So you disagree with the actual definition of a word? This is absolute nonsense. From a legal and a linguistic perspective, neutrality is well defined. Sometimes people just don’t want to hear your crap, and the particular flavour of crap is of no relevance. Sometimes people just do not wish to be disturbed. It’s not a power struggle, it’s basic human decency. It’s understanding that you don’t necessarily know what other people at work are going through, and it’s also none of your business.

I'm interested in why you believe it shouldn't be acceptable for leadership to express "dismay at the outcome of a democratic process."

I assume you feel it is appropriate for leadership to express dismay about some things, so what makes democratic processes special?

Well, my position on the subject is complicated and it is a struggle to condense it down into something reasonable.

Basically, there is no way whatsoever that being a capable and talented corporate leader makes your opinion somehow right. If anything, the comforts of great wealth and power make it less likely that their opinion actually represents the best interests of ordinary folk. So my starting point is that the opinion of Google's leaders is not more valid than anyone else's.

Then the second aspect is that they are on that stage in official capacities as leadership of Google. So they are representing the company's views to their employees.

Combining those two, why should republican voters in Google have to experience what is basically a public condemning of their vote? It isn't professional to publicly condemn the views of half your customers and potentially a large percentage of your workforce for no legitimate business reason.

Obviously, the concerns about possible immigration issues I would accept as completely relevant. I'm not sure if that has actually affected Google's business operations - but that aspect wasn't the main focus of the all-hands. The focus of the all-hands was clearly dismay that an unpopular Republican candidate had taken office. It wouldn't have happened had the alternative, an unpopular Democratic candidate, taken office.

So with these thoughts in mind, I don't think it is an acceptable situation. If this were a more traditional public company I'd like to believe professionalism would have been maintained.

I agree with you. Bringing up politics in the workplace is rarely appropriate, and the way Google does it here is not only inappropriate but very offensive. I definitely wouldn't want to hear mud slinging about my political views in a corporate environment. This whole meeting is simultaneously childish and deeply disturbing.

As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, I think search should be regulated, and part of that regulation should be some standard for political neutrality [0]. However, there is no neutral algorithm to this problem. Any algorithm favors certain sites over others. There is almost definitely going to be some correlation between the sites that are favored and the content of those sites, political or otherwise. There is simply no getting around that. The discussion we need to be having is how to do this in an acceptable way.

[0] I do not have a good idea of what such a standard would even look like, and would err on the side of being too lax in this regard.

If one or more parties is pushing misinformation, the only way to be politically neutral is to give misinformation the same standing as correct information. Society does not benefit from such a policy.

It is better to have a policy of factual correctness at a minimum. Politicians should adjust to accommodate that.

Why should search be regulated?

And I assume ALL search engines should be equally regulated.

Also, you better be pretty specific about what politically neutral really means.

For example, I just started a political party devoted to spreading obvious lies. Political neutrality means I should have top billing, right? Above the fold? Even though no one needs or wants what I’m selling?

> EDIT I'm just going to add this in because it just doesn't sit well. It shouldn't acceptable for leadership in a workplace to stand up and express pain and dismay at the outcome of a democratic process.

Isn't this exactly what they do whenever they lobby to change an existing law?

Yeah, companies make political statements all the time, on a regular basis, on all political "sides".

-- Whether it is a hunting accessories business advocating for 2nd amendment rights,

-- An enormous craft supply store (hobby lobby) using religious beliefs to decide what their employees insurance will cover,

-- A shoe company (Nike) hiring a controversial spokesperson (Kaepernick),

-- A coffee company (Starbucks) choosing to say holiday rather than pander to a religious sect,

-- A bakery refusing to sell cakes to lgbtq folks,

-- Enormous corps spending massive money to disrupt any employees attempts to discuss whether or not they wish to unionize,

-- A software ceo donating sums of money to groups trying to ban lgbtq marriage,

-- Fossil fuel spending billions to support candidates who support their business interests,

-- Renewable energy industries supporting candidates who support renewable energy projects,

-- A famous software ceo providing substantial funding for lawsuits to bring down popular liberal media sites he disagrees with,

I find it incredibly confusing why people pretend like this is a new thing, or that silicon valley is alone in this, or that the left shouldn't be allowed to use the same tools.

To be clear, I think all business interests and influence should be severely limited from politics, but that just isn't the world in which we live. The world we live in allows a disproportionate amount of influence from all industries, with plenty of real world examples from across the entire political spectrum.

If we want to have a conversation about removing corporate interests entirely, I'm game, but I'm not willing to entertain some false notion that only liberals use these tools and certainly not willing to say only conservatives can use those tools as cudgels.

> EDIT I'm just going to add this in because it just doesn't sit well. It shouldn't acceptable for leadership in a workplace to stand up and express pain and dismay at the outcome of a democratic process.

The majority can still be wrong, or make immoral democratic decisions. It is our job as citizens, all citizens (even business owners), to rally against unjust law and public policy.

It is the very rights that US foundational documents express as inalienable that allow workplace leadership to express pain and dismay at democratic decisions.

> I value political neutrality in the workplace

If you're doing meaningful work, you're changing things in the world.

Changing things in the world is necessarily and inevitably political.

If the workplace appears politically neutral, then one of two things must be true. Either what you're doing doesn't affect the outside world, or there are hidden, unstated political motives at work.

I would much prefer my company's leadership to acknowledge the politics inherent in our work and openly state their motives and point of view.

Doing otherwise is either meaningless or dishonest.

> If you're doing meaningful work, you're changing things in the world.

I don't accept that as a truism; most work is maintaining the historically unprecedented comfort that we enjoy as a society and I think that is meaningful.

Providing food is meaningful, providing shelter is meaningful, extracting raw resources is meaningful, taxation and welfare are meaningful, taxation and government services are meaningful. I could go io but that covers the basic point.

And since we are talking about a specific company, I don't even necessarily accept that the folk at Google are changing the world more than anyone else. I don't know anyone personally who's commented that 'wow Google has really changed my life' since the introduction of Gmail about 15 years ago. So, whatever they are doing it isn't very visible. Most of the improvement in the technological world is startups and the work of the circuit people.

> Providing food is meaningful, providing shelter is meaningful, extracting raw resources is meaningful, taxation and welfare are meaningful, taxation and government services are meaningful. I could go io but that covers the basic point.

I'm amazed to read that you don't think these things don't change the world. And more so that you don't think these things are political!

Agriculture is political. Land development is political. Resource extraction is political. Taxation is political.

As GP said:

> there are hidden, unstated political motives at work.

Presumably what roenxi means is you can't detect your butcher or plumber or garbage man's political affiliation by looking at their meaningful output; and neither when hiring such a person would you need to filter on political affiliation.

The problem is when they become involved in political issues that are unrelated to their economic activity.

Yes, but to Google, the proper representation of facts is related to their economic activity.

the open source technologies they have created, Map/Reduce, Tensorflow... they essentially invented large scale cheap computing. This has had massive effect on the technology industry and the world.

Do you feel that Map/Reduce or Tensorflow are somehow tools of some sort of convoluted leftist, rightist or centerist agenda? Do the communists have an ideological position on large scale cheap computing?

Those technologies do not require Google to be politically active in any way. Saying they are inherently political is like saying a supermarket is inherently political. Might be true in some technical sense, but practically most people are happy to call it a public good.

> like saying a supermarket is inherently political

> happy to call it a public good

Some supermarkets cut prices in half in advance of Hurricane Florence that is expected to make landfall today.

Other supermarkets maximize profitability and eliminated sale prices and discounts in advance of the hurricane.

Some supermarkets have large, prominent displays of unhealthy foods. Others emphasize healthy alternatives.

Sometimes merchandising decisions are purely profit-maximizing, other times they're trying to do good for their community while simultaneously making a profit.

If even a supermarket is political, how do you expect internet giants to be somehow non-political?

Virtually everything that they do involves tradeoffs that some people like and others don't.

This is a blatant false dichotomy.

You can do meaningful work that will generate value/change that is largely unaffected by the political landscape (within reason). Sure every company would love tax breaks and subsidies but let's be realistic here.

> I would much prefer my company's leadership to acknowledge the politics inherent in our work and openly state their motives and point of view.

Most do. Companies just tend to avoid aligning themselves with a party and strictly speak of only specific issues and how said issue should be addressed to benefit their interests.

Choosing to ignore politics and your ability to change it is itself a political stance.

I wasn't aware that cats were political.

What a silly argument.

Everything is political. This was partisan, though. There's a big difference between being political and being partisan.

Additionally, advocating for policy changes is far different than acting out like this about specific candidates.

Finally, the fear on display here is mostly the fear that comes from ignorance. It is astounding that a company that prides itself in knowing things would be so ignorant of such a large part of the US population, and would apply such unsavory labels to them and their intentions.

You are part of the problem.

Is antibiotics development changing the world? I should hope so. Do bacteria care about which presidential candidate won? Absolutely not. Most fields, in fact, do not involve the acrimonious political issues of the day.

The idea that "everything is political" is a lame excuse that activists use to hack politics into spaces where it doesn't belong. Even if a field has some tenuous connection to some political principle somewhere, bringing the political aspect to the fore only creates distractions and sows division.

Workplaces can and should be non-political and denying that political neutrality is possible is a particularly annoying strain of political activism.

> You are part of the problem

No personal swipes, please. Your comment would be fine without that.

Noted. Would "This attitude is part of the problem" have been acceptable?

> Do bacteria care about which presidential candidate won?

Bacteria don't care about anything, but the people developing and prescribing antibiotics very often do care, for reasons directly connected to their work (and those concerns may not be in the same direction.)

Let's discuss climate change then, because despite that being a field reinforced by science it is also one that is considered highly political in today's environment. Can you claim you're politically neutral if you are not willing to listen to people who deny climate change?

The problem with attempting to force a politically neutral stance is that it allows politics to invade where it shouldn't. Your logic is fundamentally flawed.

> Can you claim you're politically neutral if you are not willing to listen to people who deny climate change?

If you're literally not willing to listen to any arguments for/against a hypothesis at all, then sure, you're likely more invested in the political aspect than the science itself. But if you're just arguing in favor of what the majority of the established literature suggests, then no, because being pro-science is orthogonal to politics, and arguing in favor of research doesn't make one political. Just because one particular subset of science gets latched onto by politicians, doesn't make it an inherently political subject any more than people who argue that the moon landing is fake make video/image editing an inherently conspiratorial subject. I also wouldn't be accusing others of flawed logic when making an argument that relies on guilt-by-association.

You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of how the debate works. We're not talking about two rational individuals forming a debate in good faith where they're able to change each other's opinion.

We're talking about people latching themselves to an anti-empirical evidence, anti-scientific approach to things such as climate change or vaccinations. The debate becomes political when there's enough people and policymakers believing in something, scientific process be damned, to actively affect law.

The debate about vaccinations causing autism for example is a absolutely political one, enough that we see people eschewing scientific fact in a way that endangers large portions of our society. Yet when we talk about an environment needing to be politically neutral, then their opinion must be treated with equal weight. We've seen this occur with people who are anti-evolution as well, where they demand their opinions be taken seriously and allowed into the greater debate. And it shows with our current society.

> Yet when we talk about an environment needing to be politically neutral, then their opinion must be treated with equal weight.

No, that is absolutely not how science works. There's a reason why scientists undergo a peer review process to publish papers, and why journals have an "impact factor" score: it's because they're not all equal, and it takes an incredibly long time to become established as credible inside of academia.

If you're referring to the casual layman bickering that happens in the peanut gallery surrounding certain scientific results, then sure, all kinds of people with ulterior motives jump on those kinds of bandwagons and flamewars. But the scientific process itself does not (or at least tries not to) work that way, thus serving as a counterpoint to the idea that "everything is political".

This topic had never been about ensuring political neutrality in sciences and the scientific process but rather political neutrality in the layman's workplace. You're attempting to drag this argument to somewhere it's not.

And even then to counter your opinion: Who do you think helps fund and provides resources for said scientific research? This is part of the claims made by laymen that connects politics to the scientific process.

Bacteria absolutely care -- or at least we humans care about how it affects bacteria.

Political policy determines how the FDA regulates (or doesn't regulate) drugs, including antibiotics. Political policy determines if taxpayer dollars are spent getting antibiotics to those who need them, or on missiles instead. Political policy determines whether doctors are incentivized to minimize antibiotic prescriptions (and prevent superbugs) or not.

The idea that anything isn't political is unfortunately naive. It's like saying the air we breathe isn't important because we don't notice it.

If we're talking about a company, everything from the regulations it follows, to the ways it negotiates with labor, to the taxes it pays, the liability it passes on to consumers (or doesn't)... it's all political, because it's all determined/constrained by political policy.

Saying that workplaces should be non-political is a political statement, and by definition a conservative one because it embraces the status quo.

You can't escape politics even if you'd like to, and if you're the citizen of a democratic country then one can easily argue it's your civic duty not to escape it, though of course you're free to neglect that duty.

> Bacteria absolutely care


> Political policy determines how the FDA regulates...

That's exactly what I mean when I talk about a tendentious excuse for putting activism where it doesn't belong. A drug company might have a lobbying arm that has to care about policy (and that, for pragmatic purposes, talks to all sides!), but a researcher looking at chromosomal recombination isn't going to do a better job of examining the damn chromosomes after being subject to political screeds. If anything, politics in that venue will distract researchers and detract from the business's core. Is that cost worth it so that some people can feel self-righteous?

> Saying that workplaces should be non-political is a a political statement, and by definition a conservative one

So, according to "crazygringo", neutrality is "by definition" supporting the opposition. Much George Bush. Very "with us or against us". Wow.

Re "by definition": see https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/cFzC996D7Jjds3vS9/arguing-by...

> So, according to "crazygringo", neutrality is "by definition" supporting the opposition. Much George Bush. Very "with us or against us". Wow.

Would you please stop breaking the site guidelines like this?

They include: "Don't be snarky. Comments should get more civil and substantive, not less, as a topic gets more divisive."



> A drug company might have a lobbying arm that has to care about policy (and that, for pragmatic purposes, talks to all sides!), but a researcher looking at chromosomal recombination isn't going to do a better job of examining the damn chromosomes after being subject to political screeds.

If the researcher refuses to politicize, he will be used as a tool by others who will. Play the game and win, or be used.

I don’t know if I agree with crazygringo, but I do believe everything is political to the degree that bad politics can take it all away in a heartbeat. There is some plateau where I think is fine to let politics play out, the place where you draw that line is of course also political. The issue in the past has been that by the time we cross what the vast majority consider to be the line, it’s too late to easily turn the boat around. That is what people you consider alarmists are worried about.

Doctors are inclined to minimize antibiotic prescriptions because of good medical practice,

How do you maintain political neutrality when the two sides of an argument consist of climate change vs denial? Vaccines vs anti-vaxx? Being pro gay marriage vs against?

There is almost no such thing as polititcal neutrality. Every site, every piece of media and every search engine is likely to have some sort of bias you need to be aware of. There is an argument to be made that Google is a monopoly and should be reigned in, but coming at it from the stance of 'they have a political slant' seems ill-advised.

> That is literally what Google was founded on.

No it wasn't. Google was founded on being agnostic and giving you the most objective and representative view of the internet. If it didn't, it wouldn't have survived. Pagerank was not politically driven. It didn't care whether the links went to webpages that catered to larry page or brin's political ideology.

> [0] In actuality, I suspect that Google's "algorithm" involves a fair bit of "cheating" by having humans nudge the results.

We know it is. We know that they changed google news to appease large media companies. We know google seearch has been changed to appease large media companies. We know youtubee has been changed to appease large media companies.

The "do not evil" google of the 2000s died a long and slow death. The google of the 2010s has been quite biased. No longer is google objectively representing the internet as it is. It's representing the internet as page and brin wants it to be.

I don't know why people are celebrating it just because they are anti-trump. We know that there are tons of saudi, chinese and israeli money and influence in silicon valley. Do we really want a monopoly like google to be politically driven? Do we really want search and youtube to be politically driven?

Just because google is being manipulated in your favor today doesn't mean it is going to be manipulated in your favor tomorrow. It just surprises me so few people here seem to understand that.

> That is literally what Google was founded on.

Hooray! Pre-Google search sucked. It was really bad.

> The alternative is to go back to human gatekeepers.

I don't know what this means. Humans have never audited/controlled what gets indexed by crawlers. It's always automata unleashed on the data. It would be terribly unproductive to prune or tune the index with humans. However, using humans as a part of a feedback loop to tune an algorithm is a good idea [presumably all search engines do something like this].

Digital computers aren't even 100 years old. Human civilization has existed for thousands of years. We have been able to curate and distribute information without computers, and it involved human gatekeepers.

Even in the early days of the internet, there were manually constructed listing of pages. Then, as the internet grew, there were manually curated listings. Then, these manually curated listings started to compete with crappy search engines. Eventually, as these search engines improved, the manual curation was delegated to a smaller niche of the information distribution market.

We could, in principle, go back to manual curation as the dominate method. That has been the status quo for almost all of human civilization. Doing so would destroy the internet as we know it (and would be politically impossible for that reason).

Yes, I misunderstood the point.

> Doing so would destroy the internet as we know it (and would be politically impossible for that reason).

IMO this is what renders this part of the discussion moot. Given this conclusion, it's not a valuable thread to pursue.

> the manual curation was delegated to a smaller niche of the information distribution market

I'd say manual curation is bigger than ever, at least for news, it just happens via sites like reddit and HN.

The post you’re replying to is talking about pre-internet means of distributing information like magazines / newspapers and television which are 100% controlled by human decision makers.

I see. Yes, that's clear to me now.

It's only disturbing if you reject the premise of the question in advance—that the concern is addressing inaccurate factual information. Connecting users with good information is literally the function on which Google wad founded, and applying AI to that mission has been a Google vision from very early on.

It would be weird and worrying if Google selectively choose not to do that with information that might have political salience.

Right, but google’s premise is/was that it is feeding you the unfiltered view of the crowd. If not the world, at least of American computer users. That’s some signal about invariably qualitative judgments on facts.

“Hillary Emails” should give you results based on global pagerank, whether or not you agree with the subjective assessments about the importance of Hillary’s emails. Silently substituting the pagerank of New York or the subjective judgment of a room of Googlers undercuts the signal. If you give me the option to filter by DC or LA pagerank, that’s fine. But there should always be some free, unfiltered pagerank available.

> Right, but google’s premise is/was that it is feeding you the unfiltered view of the crowd.

Actually, I don't think that's the case. Google has for a very long time considered a web site's reputation as part of a page's weight among search results.

IMO Google wasn't a primary transmission medium for fake news -- not like Facebook et al. So if you got to a fake news article from Google.com, you probably went looking for it.

To your point -- if you go searching for unique terms from the fake news articles, it seems reasonable/appropriate to show you the fake news websites from whence they came. It would be odd for Google to omit those sources that are likely the best/primary source of those terms. It might be reasonable to highlight the search results as coming from a source known to publish falsehoods. Like the "This site may harm your computer" warnings, it could be a clear flag for people to be skeptical. Unfortunately, it seems like they would be inheriting a morass of subjective or difficult to maintain criteria.

> Right, but google’s premise is/was that it is feeding you the unfiltered view of the crowd

No, it's never been that; it's always been that it's algorithmically selected to promote the best information, whether the best answer to your question or, more recently through some of their mechanism, the information most likely to be useful in the absence of a specific request, considering a wide variety of general, (and, for very many years, location-based, and personalized) indicators of quality and likely utility. “Unfiltered” is exactly the opposite of what has always been Google's value proposition.

> “Hillary Emails” should give you results based on global pagerank

PageRank is the oldest and most primitive of the algorithms used in Google's rankings.

> Silently substituting the pagerank of New York or the subjective judgment of a room of Googlers undercuts the signal.

Neither of those things is suggested in the response given to the question.

> But there should always be some free, unfiltered pagerank available.

Are you seriously suggesting that Google is obligated to offer a version of its search engine using only its 1998 link ranking algorithm with none of the additional filtering and ordering criteria that have been developed I the last 20 years?

> it's always been that it's algorithmically selected to promote the best information

“Best” being the word doing the work here. There’s been some expectation that Google gives you “best” based on the wisdom of a very large, diverse group. The more it diverges from that, the more it risks losing trust as an impartial assistant.

>Are you seriously suggesting (pagerank)?

I might pick a more precise example after Google tells me the algorithm. I’m using pagerank as shorthand for the early period in which Google assessed “best” mainly through the wisdom of groups. It’s impossible to erase all subjectivity, and it’s never been perfectly objective, but that doesn’t make the goal less important. I wouldn’t object to later versions that address SEO gamesmanship, gives me local mobile results, etc.

Google’s problem is that the video shows people who most Americans would not trust to tell them what’s best, or how to find what’s best. People might trust Google to find out what most people say is best. Google risks making their judgment the product; but what got them this far was a sense they are skilled in reporting back something about the world.

Right, anyone who finds this offensive is implicitly agreeing that removing unfactual results would skew the results to be politically biased.

What's offensive is that if their candidate wins, they don't raise that question.

If the candidate who isn't spreading fake news wins, then fake news isn't a big deal. There's nothing offensive about that.

So it's wrong to be offended at the possibility of mass-scale censorship just as a matter of principle?

Search results are always going to be biased the same way that any media is always going to be biased. Have the regimes of the 20th century not taught us that it's naive to think we can objectively correct for that without opening the possibility for significantly worse repercussions?

> So it's wrong to be offended at the possibility of mass-scale censorship just as a matter of principle?

Mass-scale censorship other than that already implicit in algorithmic link ranking wasn't suggested, improving the quality of the algorithms already in use and intended to provide he best information (which false propaganda is emphatically not) was suggested.

People need to understand that fake news is an algorithm used against people - whether or not there is tech or AI pushing it. Those who push fake news know how it programs humans.

Having humans interpret what is real/fake is hard to do without bias, cheating, manipulation, favoritism and so much more.

Google knows social signal processing, it could implement ranking/scoring based on sites like PolitiFact and how many major news outlets are covering it, how the bios of the writers/contributors are - what the social graph of their reach is yaddy yaddy yadda.

We have signals for so much - that even humans use to sort/score what is real/what isn't. An AI would be able to do much of this based on social graphs and understanding of sources, targets, links, attributions and so much more.

For me, the scary thing isn't using AI to filter known lies, the scary thing is that we have AI that can do this but don't do anything because we have let the value of fake news be worth more than the value of standing for truth.

What media organization on this planet doesn't make decisions about what users should and shouldn't see? Breitbart does it, The New York Times does it, your local news channels do it.

Google as a news broker is literally just showing you what Google wants to show you. I don't know why you'd think they wouldn't have a bias, or filter their output based on it. All media does.

None of those is a fraction as powerful as Google, which is an $800 billion goliath with multiple hyper entrenched monopolies. Those monopolies entirely change the equation and expectations.

Search, Android, YouTube. All three of those are either monopolies or close to it. YouTube by itself is worth a solid 20 times what the NY Times is.

Breitbart is maybe worth $100m, a top 100 US Web site with a couple million readers.

The NY Times is a $3.6b business, with maybe 10x the daily readership of Breitbart (and a much more lucrative readership of course).

If those two want to duke it out with each other, fine. Just like with Fox or MSNBC. None of them possess monopoly positions, much less in extraordinarily large, critical information pathways, as with search, YouTube and Android.

If Microsoft had acted in 1999-2000, during its peak Windows monopoly power, to use the desktop + IE in some manner to try to throw the Bush v Gore election in favor of Bush, the Democrats would have more than lost their minds over that. It would have been considered an extraordinary abuse of monopoly power by Microsoft. Google is going to soon find out they've unleashed a political genie that is never going back into the bottle.

Where'd you get that number? Google made 109 billion last year, not 800. Alphabet made 110 billion. Amazon made 177 billion.

In comparison, Facebook made just 40 billion in revenue, but more people get their news from Facebook today than anywhere else. So really it's Facebook that's let the genie out, and they didn't need to be the wealthiest corporation or a monopoly to do it.

These are large corporations made up of lots of people and represent a wide array of shareholders' concerns. But individual billionaires also own media companies, and thus can have greater personal influence on what is expressed through those companies. https://www.forbes.com/sites/katevinton/2016/06/01/these-15-...

It does bother me that they never acknowledge the more knowledgeable and informed trump voters.

To think they don’t exist is almost as ignorant as the people they’re referring to.

Interestingly, Credit Rating is one of the strongest predictors of voting Republican

I don't think it's surprising that there's little relevance between somebody's financial wellbeing/decision-making and their tendency to believe misleading or false news that concerns political identity/ideology.

I see this complaint a lot - "hey, we/they are not like that", in response to a discussion about some perceived problem originating from within a broad group of people (I see it happen on all sides, but maybe more often from conservatives in response to liberal "elitism"), and often it is legitimate, but a lot of the time it sadly is just used as an off-topic attack on the conversation. E.g. when somebody tries to discuss the "bad apples" in the police, instead of actually discussing them, the conversation often gets shifted by indignant supporters of the larger group, in this case all police, who feel attacked by the conversation. I often wonder how to avoid this - obviously the person bringing up the controversy must not have an aggressive, accusational tone, but even then these kinds of reactions seem omnipresent in any forum. I wonder how many of the people reacting this way are just reacting emotionally, and how many truly believe the premise of the topic is actually utterly false ("there are NO bad apples in the police"), or feel that it might be true, but that the framing is somehow always an irrational attack on the entire group they are a member of.

The solution is actually free college education for everyone who wants it, even if not everyone will be able to use it on their job the only solution is massively easier access to quality education that teaches you how to think, not what to think. The lack of critical thinking skills is a real problem but its largely by designs, some in DC think having an economic draft is a good thing and an educated population is not welcomed.

Nearly every college is all about teaching you what to think, not how to think. They like to claim otherwise... which is another thing they want you to think.

The non-STEM courses are particularly a cesspool of telling you what to think. They grade you on it. Politically incorrect opinions, no matter how well argued, will badly damage your grade or worse.

Will those intructors teach from both sides of the political spectrum and give both major philosophies similar time?

A good professor can have their bias but still encourage critical thinking. I'm from a university informally (?) affiliated to the Southern Baptist Convention in Texas. We often started our chemistry class with a reading of Psalms. We called the Paris Hilton tax/inheritance tax the "death tax" in our economics class as well as in our US History since 1867 class. In my limited experience, professors are able to teach students to think for themselves even when they disagree with me.

I learned a lot but I don't think college made me a "conservative". I was mortified to see our University president on TV demanding religious exemption from birth control in employee health insurance.

No argument here, except to say not all instructors are good teachers. Sometimes we’re lucky and get good ones who despite their biases teach us the fundamentals.

Wait...how many years of free education do you need to learn "how to think"?

I don't know but I think I learned quite a bit just talking to fellow students in the hallways and in the dorm.

Yes. They think they can figure out what we should see (and how we should vote, obviously) and their mission, as good people, is helping us to get there. Kicking and screaming, if needed, it's all for our own good at the end. Yes, it is concerning. That's why there should be many search engines, and that's why everybody should support projects like DuckDuckGo. Having one corporation - with however noblest intentions they see themselves - solely controlling information input of billions is not healthy, no matter what your politics is.

Using AI to manipulate what you see is already happening - especially if you browse the web without an adblocker.

Yeah, but this directly has ramifications for our democracy, doesn't it? It looks they're actively trying to prevent certain content from being seen while exposing the content Google executives feel the masses 'should' see. This doesn't seem very neutral to me. The leaked video is quite disturbing.

Every action or inaction with any social context is a political action. Who gets to decide what “neutral” even is, anyway? Of course this has ramifications for our democracy, along with every single other piece of media you’ve ever consumed.

I want my search engine to make me smarter and better informed and not baby me with only the content I already know or believe. In that respect, I don’t want censorship. But I also don’t want it to try and feed me just any old information that happens to be sitting around.

> It looks they're actively trying to prevent certain content from being seen while exposing the content Google executives feel the masses 'should' see.

Even if they were doing this overtly to promote a political view rather than to address the problem—false information—that the question expressly raises, this would be protected political speech.

> This doesn't seem very neutral to me.

Even if it didn't (and the actual answer to the actual question does not suggest political bias unless false propaganda uniquely favors one side), so what? What corporation, particularly in the business of distributing current events information, is strictly politically neutral? Certainly none of the ones pushing the narrative that this should be considered disturbing.

The core of Google's business model is using AI to manipulate what people see. (Hint: Mostly ads.) Whether you want to argue it's politically-biased is a separate discussion.

Spam filtering is arguably using AI to manipulate what the user sees. In that case, it's less spam. A lot of AI is focused on finding what's the most interesting/valuable to the user, removing "bad" data, etc.

Members of most political parties, arguably, would like fake news and misinformation to be curated away, it's just that those parties often disagree with what news is "fake".

It is very disturbing. The notion that artificial intelligence can intercept information from individuals, and properly classify its accuracy seems dangerous.

It works with much of internet content, because formal communication has proper structure. But that is beside the point.

The real question is - who is responsible for classifying the training data? And what makes them qualified?

Deeply. Between gmail’s the auto-reply that tries to anticipate how I would respond to an email and the material in this video, I motivated to get off of gmail and all google products.

I can appreciate that they were disappointed in the election results. I am shocked to see leaders of a Fortune 100 company responding this way, in that forum. What are they thinking? That there is no legitimate reason for voting against Hillary? That all who have a different opinion than them are evil?

I have been really skeptical about James Damore- and I still think he’s a tragic clown, but now I am rethinking a few things:

Google appears to be a liberal monoculture that cannot understand legitimate alternative viewpoints.

Google’s leadership has no instinct to curb potentially controversial opinions in front of their own ranks. Clearly, no libertarians or conservatives work at google. Who would tolerate this kind of intolerance from their employer?

Isn't this only disturbing if one rejects there being an objective distinction between misinformation and information? Sure, there are gray areas, but there are many actors exposing people to indisputably factually false claims, and "false" in this sentence is quite often not a political concept or subjective. The pope didn't endorse Trump. Trump's inauguration crowd was not the largest in history, etc.

Google may be involved in a lot of manipulative things, but trying to distinguish between blatantly incorrect sources of information and the rest does not seem like a shady political motive to me, and there overall goal seems worthwhile to me. Encyclopedias and scientific journals also manipulate what people are seeing and I don't think filtering mechanisms in general are problematic; it depends on how the information is selected, and if this is done through a good process, it can be very beneficial.

serious question : How else are they supposed to treat information at this scale ?

Damn those scare quotes are really scary.

Nope. better them than putin or steve bannon, or anyone who works at breitbart

I've used the internet long enough to not want to spend another second reading a lie someone wrote a news article about.

I didn't have to read the article. I just watched the leaked video with my own eyes in its entirety.

You misunderstood. I'm responding to the idea that we wouldn't want to filter the aggregation of content on the internet. I overwhelmingly disagree that an unfiltered stream of everything everyone wants to say is the only way to consume that content. As in the example I gave, I would rather have a robot determine whether someone is lying before that content gets to me.

To be honest, it caught me by surprise how politically unified the whole top management is, and how strong their political convictions are. It is publicly known that Eric Schmidt for example supports democrats, but I (wrongly) supposed that is mostly his personal affinity. Now it seems that not; the company as a whole supports one political party. Now the question is how is this reflected in their products (search, Google News, etc).

I don't think they're that unified; They united here to support employees who worried about their future. But I would assume they have certain common views, e.g. that immigration isn't the all-time evil.

Also, the company as a hole supports both parties - their lobbying efforts (and campaign contributions) are more diverse, which makes sense since you don't want to bet everything on a single horse/party.

Isn't it more that they're against Trump, and what the Republican party has become? They are only for one political party because there is only one alternative. Back in the day, I know that their leadership was close with people like Colin Powell and Kissinger, so there are probably some traditional republican values held, it's just that in recent years the party has become completely toxic.

If there is a contemporary personification of Evil, that is Kissinger. It's not about "traditional republican values" either. As far as I can see, both your big parties are a continuation of Kissinger's policies.

But this is also basically just a political opinion - some people agree that it is "toxic", others not.

To be honest so much corporate speak. Only Sergei's voice seems to be authentic. Everyone else trying to be extremely careful with their language of comments even though it's not a public event.

And "misinformation" and "fake news" will be combatted by AI? Seriously? That is like saying, "I have no clue but I will use some buzzwords". Pichai/GOOG knows AI better than everyone. I think they still don't have plan for combatting misinformation.

I think they are being genuine when they say their plan is to combat fake news with AI; their business is built around AI. It is one of their core competencies.

I think they are going to fail, and quietly increase the human involvement once they realize that their AI isn't good enough. Then they will slowly scale back the humans as their AI improves, until the next controversy when they realize that they still need humans.

> I think they are going to fail, and quietly increase the human involvement once they realize that their AI isn't good enough. Then they will slowly scale back the humans as their AI improves, until the next controversy when they realize that they still need humans.

Exactly. AI is not good at subjective decisions of qualitative data. For example, nobody knows any political candidate's net worth apart from IRS, until they make those records public. And say political candidates make statements that they are way less or way more than their net worth they cannot detect it is true or false.

That's why I was surprised. Pichai is smart enough that AI can't combat fake news. Hence he was just saying to save face.

"Fake news" has lost all meaning in the intervening years, but at the time, it is hard to remember, we were concerned about essentially phishing websites that made themselves out to be (say) CNN, but were not.

As others have said, evaluating trust on the internet using computers (call it AI or not) is literally Google's core competency.

Realistically there doesn't exist a good solution for this. That's why every single site out there with user content that is large enough is struggling with moderation.

There is no solution that scales up to billions of users, and while it's true that AI most likely won't work, it is the best they've got right now. Do you have a better solution? Because Google has hired some of the smartest people and even then they still are having issues with Youtube every other week, so I'm sure you'd be paid a pretty hefty sum if you could solve this.

> Do you have a better solution?

Let the receiver evaluate the information? Sure, some will have false believes. Cannot change that and you shouldn't even attempt to do so. Because authority has been wrong to an equal degree.

The whole premise falls flat in my opinion.

There won't be any viable solution, if the problem cannot even be defined. Currently it is based on a feeling that there are mean and false statements on social media.

And this fact is emphasized by parties who like more control about content.

Anyone aware of the current capabilities of AI should know, that it is no solution, at least in its current state. Sure, big tech likes to signal otherwise. But these statements just underline their business interest in that sector. Nothing wrong with that.

Wanting to tighten control about content is.

> Let the receiver evaluate the information

This ignores one of Google's primary missions. As jlebar posted in a different comment

> evaluating trust on the internet using computers (call it AI or not) is literally Google's core competency.

This idea that we should pretend as if there is no problem to solve seems incredibly strange to me. Particularly when we know unreliable information is being weaponized by bad actors to influence entire populations of people. This is a very real problem which needs solving.

Humans have limited time for research and we value reliability. Consider all of the hype around the recent severe decline in trust of authenticity and reliability of products purchased through Amazon. We tend to prefer shopping at places where we know the products we purchase will be of a certain standard. We go to trusted sources (as amazon was previously) because we don't have the time to carefully evaluate each of the many many items we purchase every week. We choose a store we trust will have already done that quality check.

It seems as if Google believes it is important for it's business that the information it prioritizes has a certain quality or reliability level. Google prefers their information be more like a Target store than a back alley tent. And if the amount of people who shop at Target stores over back alley tents is any indicator, I'm guessing Google is probably on to something.

I'm certainly skeptical about who should be able to decide what is "true" on subjective issues, but I don't see how we can pretend as if there isn't a very real problem of actual provably false information being weaponized.

I for one am fairly busy and just as I don't have time to do a deep dive of research into whether or not the shampoo, deodorant, milk, cereal, orange juice, whiskey, dish soap, cold medicine etc etc etc are fake; I also don't have time to deep dive research if the 30+ articles I skim everyday are provable outright lies. Not only don't I have the time, I don't necessarily have the inclination.

> We tend to prefer shopping at places where we know the products we purchase will be of a certain standard.

we don't just prefer; we pay to shop at places where we trust that the products will be of high quality (or at least authentic).

no one i know around my age pays for any news whatsoever (including myself, admittedly). this should tell you something about how much we value quality news.

> Do you have a better solution?

There is a somewhat working solution, but it might be incompatible with American voter (for some time) https://www.scmp.com/news/china/poliitics/article/2162036/ch...

>AI is not good at subjective decisions of qualitative data

That's exactly the core strength of AI. It is what differentiates AI from hard coded solutions. Estimations(subjective decisions) based on correlations in fuzzy (qualitative) data.

In your example, you could take a set of data containing the net worths and other characteristics, e.g. birth zip code, spending habits, affiliations, and if there are any trends related to net worth, a properly architected neural network trained on the appropriate data could easily estimate subjectively on what amounts to qualitative data.

The IRS doesn't know your net worth. They know your income and deductions, mostly.

Short of launching a forensic investigation, subpoenaing records, and carefully watching you, how would the IRS know your net worth?

There are plenty of humans involved in evaluating the algorithm. See my other post:


If you mean humans rating every new page on the Internet in real time, this isn't possible. It's machines or nothing.

Ah, well, not to put too fine a point on it, but search engines don't even come close to rating every new page on the internet in real time.

There are like days of lag, in search engine results, unless you eagerly, eagerly, eagerly force your way into strategic points of the existing index for each independent search engine, separately.

Nevermind DNS replication, which is it's own beast. So, from domain registration, to DNS replication, to getting listed, to becoming relevant (which requires all kinds of meta tags and dom restructuring for crawlability, plus roll-your-own-site-maps, and so on), to being recognized as a reliable source of information, such as press releases, before we even get to news possibly going viral?

Well, news actually doesn't even go viral without humans in the loop. I mean consider how viral a high karma rank gets you on hacker news? It's just enough to get 10K eyes on a site in unison, to overwhelm a non-load-balanced server. And that's the voting of users doing all the work.

And then to include heavier social sites like reddit, twitter and facebook in the mix? That's almost purely human opinion performing the ranking factor. The attention of the users closes the feedback loop, and the chain reaction can strap a booster rocket to notoriety.

So, I'd almost say the really real time (like viral real time) stuff is almost only humans doing the work, and the robots are just there for the chatter threshold tripwires.

> Nevermind DNS replication, which is it's own beast.

There’s a lot wrong with your post, but let’s start here. How do you think DNS works? Your statements about it indicate a complete lack of knowledge on the topic. I can register a new domain and have it resolveable anywhere in the world in minutes.

That's a tragic view.

How did we get to the state where the "truth" is such an elusive concept?

Is it so hard to determine whether basic statements are true or false? And to build larger, higher constructs out of those building blocks? That's basically what science has been and is.

It seems comically easy to identify fake news in most cases. Was this inauguration crowd larger than that one? That's a simple question to answer.

We got to that state when we started talking about so much information that it is impracticable to have a human read all of it, let alone provide a truth judgement for all of it. Even getting computers to read all of it is a significant engineering effort.

Simply getting computers to understand the statements is one of the holy grails of AI research; let alone determining if they are true.

> How did we get to the state where the "truth" is such an elusive concept?

Look into the fields of epistemology and the philosophy of science, in particular the works of Karl Popper such as The Logic of Scientific Discovery. The "truth" has always been an elusive concept. Outside the realm of mathematics, it's rather difficult to objectively prove most things "true".

Two days ago, partisan advocacy site ThinkProgress ran an article with the headline "Brett Kavanaught said he would kill Roe v. Wade last week and almost no-one noticed". The reason no-one noticed is because he said nothing of the sort and ThinkProgess knew as much. One of the fact checkers partnered with Facebook labelled it as false, they attached the usual warning, and this made ThinkProgress and a chunk of the left-leaning press furious. They accused Facebook of "defaming" and "censoring" them to "appease the right wing", claiming that this was actually some kind of partisan attack on the truth.

That, in essence, is how we got here. There are plenty of loud, vocal defenders of "truth" out there, it's just that the loudest and most vocal of them define "truth" to mean "what our side believes".

It was a bad headline, for sure. I see more attention grabbing headlines every day.

Why would you expect the truth of basic statements to be easy to establish? Science is hard and many basic questions are debated by experts. Political consensus is difficult.

Science is not a public endeavor. Science is conducted by trained professionals. Besides the training, there exist filters (self selection, academic tests, etc) which ensure the scientific community has a higher than average connection with "the truth".

The public at large has never been particularly well connected to truth. One difference now is that, in the past, the public at least respected and trusted scientists, academics, etc. Nowadays they're scorned.

I think humility of knowing how little any single individual knows, and how much "details" matter, would be much better attitude for everyone to take, rather than thinking the truth is easy, even for seemingly basic stuff.

Scenarios like this predictably happen. They were smart to speak carefully.

Not a public event? Well, how come we are watching the video? It's public. So careful? Why are you using a throwaway account?

This is great stuff and chance to see Google’s famous TGIFs. Also rare chance to hear Larry Page’s changed voice. It’s beyond shocking however that leaders of search engine business so openly preaching their political views. Given this is at the highest level, one cannot have confidence that things would remain bias free. I would have expected these leaders to make sure they keep their political views to themselves just to be fair to conservative employees who are ironically minority at Google.

Google was around when W was elected and re-elected and nothing of the sort happened at their all hands then. It’s absolutely different because the particular candidate that won is uniquely odious in his approach and policy proposals that has/could negatively impact the lives of many Googlers.

Overall negative impact on Googlers of decade-long war, increased airport security and PATRIOT act in general has greatly outpaced whatever extra negative impact Trump has caused so far and will cause in foreseeable future. I'm not surprised in the slightest that majority of Googlers are not liking Trump very much; there are plenty of very good reasons to do so. However, as much as media hype it, let's not pretend that he's so much worse that W in terms of what actually happened since his election.

Google has vast numbers of minority and immigrant employees, do you expect them to have no opinion when their own employees are afraid of the government discriminating against them?

This isn't political bias against conservative economic ideas, or even classic social conservatism, this is bias against racism and bigotry. And were they wrong? Two years later, everything people had been worrying about in this TGIF got worse.

Every few weeks some new dog whistle is blown.

There are some things which are just wrong, that if you're not a coward, you take a stand against. I hope any congressional testimony over this is combative, not milquetoast PR speak. Rather than spin, come right out and say: the company's values stand against racism and bigotry, and if Ted Cruz melts like a snowflake over it, so be it.

Part of my decision for leaving Google was the insane left leaning bias within the company. I never outed myself as a conservative person because I've heard coworkers equate republicans to monsters.


Aaand that is just another example of what OP is talking about ;)


The view that someone is automatically a monster or an "oppressor" because they voted Republican is wrong and offensive in the extreme.

It is possible to vote Republican without wholly supporting - let alone personally imitating - everything that Trump does, just as it is possible to vote Democrat without wholly supporting everything Obama did.

You vote for the party that gives you the most of what you want and has a reasonable chance of being elected. Rarely if ever will you be entirely satisfied with their personal behavior or policies once in office.

Maybe being conservative just isn't that smart to begin with?

Please don't foment flamewars on HN.


THIS is a not-insignificant part of the problem. right here. You jumped straight out of the gate with calling the OP stupid. Not even a feigned attempt at some sort of discussion or debate.

You saw the word "conservative" and BOOM it's right into the Us vs. Them, Me vs. You, Good vs. Evil. I just don't see how that is healthy, at all, for anyone or anything including the country. It's childish. Social media and karma/upvotes/likes/karma/fake-internet-points, whatever you want to call it, has devolved us into kids on the schoolyard.

United we stand, divided we fall. grow up

I mean, if you look throughout history, even at the last century, you see civil rights actions that were vehemently opposed by conservatives and traditionalists.

Votes for women, emancipation of slaves, equal rights for women, for blacks, for gays, for the transgendered, worker protections, abolition of child labour, mandatory paid leave, maternity leave, environmental protections etc.

The list could go on, and in each and every instance we have had conservatives and traditionalists fighting them tooth and nail, and losing the battle every single time.

While the comment the person you replied to is short and lacking in substance, I do think there is truth to it.

What's that old Buddhist maxim?

Change is the only constant in life or You cannot change the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

Change is a certainty, but conservatives and traditionalists have made it their life's work to resist it.

You should separate what Californians think of conservatives from what they think about Republicans. California has a lot of liberterian leaning views but not a lot of respect for the GOP.

Depends on what Republicans you're talking about, the classic Buckley, Jack Kemp, Milton Friedman style of conservative, who you can have intellectual disagreements over economic policy about, or today's nationalist, xenophobic, cult-of-personality Republicans, which I'd call Trumplicans, who have abandoned everything classical liberals stood for (free trade, immigration, against crony capitalism) and now actively enable an administration that literally threatens to intervene in markets and pick winners or create losers.

Or the people who burn their shoes and lose their minds every time someone (who is black) kneels at a football game. Those are the monsters.

Seems no one understands Popper's Paradox. Lots of talk about it being unfair that a workplace is intolerant of people who are intolerant. There are just some values that are not negotiable for a modern, civilized, homogeneous society. We're not talking about debates about the level of social welfare, or regulation, we're talking about common decency of treating people equally, regardless of gender, sexuality, or ethnic origin.

There's no reason anyone has to respect ethno-nationalist views against immigrants.

Except there are plenty of rational reasons one might want to restrict immigration by country, as even Gwern has gone over before: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13859767

> immigrant outcomes differ by orders of magnitude by country and that this has considerable implications for the immigration debate and that many of the arguments made by the left for illegal immigration & open borders range from ignorant to outright lying with statistics.

In 2014 Havard fellow Eugen Dimant did a study on immigration from corrupt countries, with the consistent finding that "Immigration from corruption-ridden countries boosts corruption in the destination country."


To put forth either of these as reasons to restrict immigration from one set of countries, and encourage immigration from another, almost always gets you labeled a racist, ethno-nationalist, etc. If you don't believe you will be called that, I invite you to try and discuss them pro/con style (pretending you are fairly convinced) with some of your more liberal coworkers, and see what they say.

Just being immigration-skeptic in general now often leads to such charges, which is absurd. The most basic rational reason of all is very simple: If the fundamental mechanic of democracy is that the people vote and these votes matter, then every citizen should have a strong interest in making sure that the criteria for being a citizen is in place to attract good citizens and repel bad ones. Instead, we can barely talk about it.

Of course there are legitimate reasons to control immigration - nobody is saying there isn't - but these are not reasons given by the current white house administration.

> To put forth either of these as reasons to restrict immigration from one set of countries, and encourage immigration from another, almost always gets you labeled a racist

That is the very definition of racism. You're ascribing negative traits to specific races/ethnicities/countries, and using that as justification for discriminating against all individuals from that demographic.

If you want to advocate for racist policies as being pragmatic and in the public interests, go ahead and make that argument. But at least have the honesty to call it what it is.

FWIW, I don't think racism and stereotypes make for good public policy, no matter how "true" they may seem. This was the same logic used to discriminate against Irish, Italian and Eastern-European immigrants, and I don't think it's worth going down that same road once again. We can build a sensible immigration policy based on individual merit, without debasing ourselves into racist ideologies.

When the right talk about toxic and destructive cultures and suggest policy to address it then that is racism and discrimination.

When the left talk about toxic and destructive masculinity and suggest policy to address it then that is using clear language and decisive action about a structural issue in society.

We could be making sensible policies based on each individuals own merit and it would be great. No more women vs men, immigrant vs nationalist, white vs black. It is the future I would like to have but what I am getting is the choice between two ideologies who each ascribing negative traits to their own set of races and gender, with policies to match.

I'd consider myself a liberal, and I'm opposed to any and all attempts to discriminate against an entire demographic group, based on negative traits that are (supposedly) statistically common. Regardless of whether the group in question is Mexicans/Whites/Females/Males/Muslims. I would consider anyone espousing such ideology to be racist/sexist by definition. There are certainly fringe bigots in the left, but I'm sure the majority of Clinton voters feel similarly as I do.

I am glad to hear someone with that view. I would like it to be fringe, and while the last weeks election here in Swedish is plainly showing how mainstream generalizations like "mens violence again women" are, I feel like looking at like it is fringe might just help push it to actually become fringe.

Equality of this kind is a topic that could create common ground between liberal left and libertarian right, with policies and laws that focus on the individual and human behavior rather than groups. It would mean giving up having a group that each side can point at and blame for all faults in society, and the cynical in me would say that this means its political impossible, but it would make for a better world and possible push people to towards each other rather than apart.

I agree with you. There's nothing more dehumanizing than being insulted or discriminated against, because of the demographic group you belong to. I think we should all speak up against it when we see it happening.

> I'd consider myself a liberal, and I'm opposed to any and all attempts to discriminate against an entire demographic group, based on negative traits that are (supposedly) statistically common

Good for you. Any ideas about how to get people talking about "toxic masculinity" and "evil whiteness" day and night on board? How about people that call for "white genocide"?

> I would consider anyone espousing such ideology to be racist/sexist by definition.

OK. But would the consequences of this definition for someone publicly talking about "toxic masculinity" as something common to most/all males be the same as being an open misogynist, for example? And if not, do you think it's wrong and how would you propose to change it?

> I'm sure the majority of Clinton voters feel similarly as I do.

Do they? How comes somebody like Farrakhan is still very much welcome to the polite society on the left?

So you must believe the 1985 Schengen Agreement to be a racist policy, then. Or any international treaty delineated by a set of countries. That's quite the odd position in my opinion, I don't share your beliefs.

> Instead, we can barely talk about it.

Is your contention that the main thing about the election of Trump that upset the people in this video that he took a cooly rational stance against some forms of immigration?

Banning all Muslims -- including citizens and visa holders -- from entering the country does not seem to be aligned with this position.

Saying that a judge was unqualified to do his job because of where his parents were born does not seem to be aligned with this position.

Blasting the family of a soldier who died saving others on the basis of their race and religion does not seem to be aligned with this position.

If your point is that you're frustrated that Trump has lowered the standards of intellectual dialog in the country, well, join the club, friend.

No, my contention is that people who want to talk about immigration often get a response sidetracked with talking about Trump & co and whatever their positions are, instead of talking about immigration.

(Or worse, lumping any positions into support for whatever they're doing.)

That's fine, but that clearly isn't what happened here. This is very specifically about Trump.

The parent-most comment I replied to is commenting specifically on workplace tolerance, which I take to mean among employees and their own views.

Trump does not work at Google, Trump supporters at Google may support his policies, or not, and for his reasons or for their own reasons. Conservatives more generally have claimed Google is intolerant of their views, which is the reason this video is making the rounds in the first place.

So I disagree, I do not think this is very specifically about Trump. I think this is about workplace discussion of political issues, and for that matter is an issue in SV that pre-dates Trump. For example from 2015: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/closete...

"There's no reason anyone has to respect ethno-nationalist views against immigrants."

There are plenty of reasons to be against the current immigration regime that don't involve ethno-nationalism but it's nearly impossible to forward any such arguments without being accused of being an ethno-nationalist.

It sure doesn't help when our President says Mexican immigrants are "drug dealers and rapists", and wants to cut off immigration from "shithole countries".

*hole countries was anecdotal and reported by someone who did disagree very much with Mr. Trump. Just pointing out it's unproven.

You'd have to be extremely biased in your sources, to not believe that Trump said some variant of the above.


Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) told the Post and Courier that his South Carolina colleague Sen. Lindsey Graham, who attended the meeting, told him Trump’s reported comments were “basically accurate.”

And Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who also didn’t attend the meeting, told the Washington Post he heard about Trump’s comments before they went public, and they matched the later reports.


Anonymous Republican sources have pushed the story that Trump in fact used the phrase “shithouse countries.” According to the Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey, Robert Costa, and Ashley Parker, Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) told the White House that’s what they remember Trump saying in the meeting.

Trump has apparently decided that the controversy is hurting him politically, so his allies are using this minor discrepancy to justify public denials that he said “shithole.”

Like what?

I find it hard to believe you couldn't think of a reason to not support mass migration other than 'racism', but Sweden let around a million people into a country of 10 million in an unmanaged fashion which is causing a lot of social issues? Germany where Angela Merkel let in 5 million people and the CDU lost a huge amount of support after similar things happened?

Quantify those issues. At the scale of millions of people (I'm going to assume your 50 million was a typo, not that you're innumerate or gullible), one must quantify.

If 100 people out of 100,000 who migrate cause problems, and they are all fleeing intolerable living conditions, then the only reasonable way you can say that all 100,000 should be shut out is if you value the welfare of the 99,900 so low that it is outweighed by the social harm caused by the 100 even after taking into account the benefits of migration.

Most European migrants are financial migrants rather than refugees. A journalist went to Calais during the supposed 'Syrian refugee crisis' there and found 0 Syrians.

50 million people? Germany has a total population of 80 million, so something is definitely off with your numbers. What kind of "social issues" have immigrants caused in Sweden?

5 million, typo edited. The second is easily Googlable and not under dispute by anyone.

I did Google it and I found 1.7 million refugee applications in Germany in the period 2008-2017. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_migrant_crisis#Asylum...)

Where did you get your 5 million from?

Obviously controversial, but this could be one of the reasons some may fear immigration:


Which is one of the worst examples ever. It was so highly politizised at the time. But you have point, it actually helped to form a certain narrative and a lot of people followed that narrative.

How is it a bad example? From Wikipedia itself...

> On 7 June, a Federal Criminal Police Office report confirmed that most of the perpetrators were of North African origin and had arrived in Germany during the European migrant crisis. Investigative results about the perpetrators were congruent with witnesses' statements.[48]

Because it was one particular case and the numbers have been looked at isolated. That and the fact that the first reports have been exagerated. Not to even speak about the way right wing groups used these reports...

I'll leave it to you to research crime numbers like rape, theft andn such for carneval in Cologne or the Oktoberfest in Munich. Because These are the numbers that provide the context.

Disclaimer: That does not in the slightest way imply that any of These cases are defendable, the least of all rape. Still, context helps to prevent knee-jerk reactions.

So because of one example, you are attributing criminal behavior to a whole group of people? Sounds like textbook racism to me.

People can have opposing views about how to treat people equally, regardless of gender, sexuality, or ethnic origin. A famous historical example is the equality feminism vs difference (diversity) feminism, which is directly opposite views with the exact same goal. One view is that women and men are equal and any difference is so minor as to not be significant, the other asserts the differences and promotes them as being important and of equality worth. The effort to achieve equality are for those two groups opposing efforts where every step forward for one is a step backward for the other.

Intolerance against different opinions oppose any dissenting views that shares the same goal but not the strategy to reach it. Equality feminism vs diversity feminism, open source vs free software, and so on.

Setting aside the validity of Popper's Paradox, you might actually consider that you're on the wrong end of it: meaning, you're the intolerant one. I'm serious. Because you slander people who hold views opposite to yours and look to silence them once you have taken hold of power.

A person can be for immigration enforcement and NOT be an ethno-smethmo whateveryourecallingit. If you don't control your border, you're not a nation.

If only it were so simple. What you are proposing seems to require universal acceptance of an authoritarian regime that sets the social rules which are, as you say, "not negotiable". Otherwise in a free society almost everything is negotiable and a precise definition of common decency is not so common, particularly across cultures. Similarly, trying to produce a complete and widely-accepted definition of intolerance is almost certain to elicit plenty of actual intolerance, but not enough to actually compile a complete and widely-accepted definition of intolerance.

As a conservative who worked at Google: There also is risk is that if a conservative shares a conservative view correlated with intolerant views (but not actually intolerant), they become likely to be lumped in with the intolerant. The hard part about Popper's paradox is defining what is intolerant (outside of the obvious cases cited in the comments here).

When accusations of intolerance become effective weapons for silencing one's opponents, everything befomes intolerant. There's no mystery principle here: censorship and intimidation are pure power plays.

Modern intersectionality dictates that people be treated very differently based on their gender, sexuality, and ethnic origin.

Modern intersectionality starts from the observation that people ARE treated differently based on their gender, sexuality, and ethnic origin.

I don't know who the pope of modern intersectionality is, so I don't know what It dictates. But your formulation, if applied to abolitionists, would read like "Abolitionists dictate that people should be treated very differently based on whether they are currently enslaved"

This is a bad faith interpretation of intersectionality.

It's an accurate one, but you're welcome to add any nuance you feel is necessary and let people respond to it.

Well, for one, intersectionality is about how one describes reality, it is by no means normative and a cursory glance at the wikipedia page indicates as much, with citations if one is so inclined to put any effort at all in thinking critically.

But are you?

> intersectionality is about how one describes reality

I am sorry, but this is one of the most useless definitions I've read lately. Almost any human activity and any point of view can be described as "about how one describes reality", from quantum gravity theory to buddhism. And, on top of that, it does not contradict the premise bitlax described above.

I am all for thinking critically but if you proclaim that the description above is wrong - and not only just wrong, but so obviously wrong as the wrongness to be obvious to the author, and thus "bad faith" - I think the minimum requirement for you would be to produce a better definition. And "read the wikipedia, it's all there" is not providing a better one.


Good answer. Thank you for a thoughtful discussion.

You should disclose that you are a Google employee in your comment.

Why? There's no potential conflict of interest.

There is no such paradox.

Popper is talking about not permitting of force as a mechanism for dispute resolution. The "paradox of tolerance" isn't a paradox at all. It's just a bludgeon people use to suppress free speech. It's ridiculous to claim that a discussion of the proper level of immigration is a threat to discourse generally.

I'm assuming you're totally against Asia then? Asian countries have been far more staunch against refugees.

Japan for example accepted only 27 refugees in one year while rejecting 7,586 according to the Brookings Institute. South Korea accepted only 94 in one year. Refugees are pretty much shut off from Singapore and China and many other Asian countries.

I'm curious why these countries don't receive the same flak for their "ethno-nationalist" views against immigrants. There are no boycotts against buying goods from these countries as they are with Trump hotels.

EDIT: I see that you work for Google. Your company is censoring content on behalf of the communist government in China despite their "ethno-nationalist" views against immigrants (not to mention their abysmal human rights record). What's the explanation?

20, 30 years ago many of the same people clamoring for open borders now were speaking against globalization, corporate imperialism, cultural imperialism, but speaking for and on behalf of the cause of American workers who were being swapped out for offshoring, etc. But now the credo is open borders and strong companies which can stand against nation states and dictate values.... It’s as if the political magnetosphere swapped poles.

Who is clamoring for open borders? I don't know of any prominent examples of political figures who take that position, just examples where their opponents falsely characterise the position as "open borders".

The ptogressive base makes arguments for it. They make arguments against ICE, make arguments agaist enforcing immigration laws, make arguments for “sanctuary cities”. What other country, even poor countries who, for consistency’s sake, should espouse such policy had such policies? Most othet countries I’ve been to the police have the power to deport; depening on case, on the spot. I have known of people who worked abroad who were given hours to arrange for their stuff and get out after staying beyond their visas.

Neither "abolish ICE" nor "sanctuary cities" are equivalent positions to "open borders". That's my point. I just searched again, and find only one example of a politician coming anywhere close to advocating open borders (Keith Ellison, representative for MN, wore a shirt saying "yo no creo en fronteras." He has however repeatedly refused to openly say he supports "open borders".) The mainstream liberal/progressive position isn't to clamor for open borders. It is to clamor for every individual to be treated with dignity and respect and compassion for their circumstances. The push to abolish ICE and for sanctuary cities is a reaction to injustice committed in the name of the law by ICE specifically. (In the progressive view, what is "just" is a different question to what does the law say.) All the talk about "open borders" comes from conservatives purposely exaggerating and mis-characterizing their opponents' views.

"sanctuary city" is essentially equivalent to open borders. If you deny the ability to enforce immigration policy, then having immigration policy is just a waste of money and effort. It's like having a door but no walls around, so if you are not allowed in the door, you just go around it.

> He has however repeatedly refused to openly say he supports "open borders"

Come on. If the person does not say "open borders" for tactical reasons, it doesn't mean he doesn't support the concept, especially if he says "no creo en fronteras".

> The push to abolish ICE and for sanctuary cities is a reaction to injustice committed in the name of the law by ICE specifically.

So let's say police and courts do an injustice (that happens a lot) and you say you want now to abolish police and courts. Would it be unfair to say you object to law enforcement? If yes, then you'd have to explain how do you see law enforcement absent police and courts. Or recognize that - for whatever reasons you arrived to this position - you are now doing exactly that. Somebody who objects to enforcement of immigration laws - as a whole, not in specific cases - must either explain how it is not "open borders" - and the burden of proof is on them - or recognize that's what they are for. Even if it is tactically uncomfortable.

> All the talk about "open borders" comes from conservatives purposely exaggerating and mis-characterizing their opponents' views

Please explain how "open borders" is mischaracterizing "yo no creo en fronteras". Maybe my Spanish is worse than I thought it is - what exactly does it mean then?

Just in this topic there is several commenters that take exactly that position. There are many more. Of course, not every person who opposes immigration restrictions is for open borders, and not every politician that is ultimately for open borders would think it is a good tactics to proclaim it right now. But proponents of unlimited (and essentially unlimited - i.e. guarded by checks that anyone with two brain cells can pass or limited by mechanism that lacks enforcement in practice) immigration obviously and prominently exist. You can see people with slogans proclaiming that on any pro-immigration protest. Surely, not everybody thinks so. But denying that there are many people saying so is denying the obvious.

> I'm curious why these countries don't receive the same flak for their "ethno-nationalist" views against immigrants. There are no boycotts against buying goods from these countries as they are with Trump hotels.

This is text book whataboutism. Just because someone isn't publicly complaining about Y doesn't make their criticism of X any less relevant.

Y is more far oppressive but is coddled while X gets all the flak and is stifled. Conservative sites like Breitbart are essentially stifled on Google while the oppressive Chinese government can manipulate any Google search results it wants. What is Google's reasoning for this?

This isn’t a fair comparison. The Chinese government cannot manipulate search results outside of China, where companies must either comply with local law or be eliminated via the Great Firewall.

This policy, while controversial in itself, has nothing to do with what you perceive as “stifling” of Breitbart in, I presume, American search results. I’d argue that this is nearly blatantly untrue - try searching for a term that Breitbart has written about, and you’ll find results at the top [0] or for Breitbart itself, and you’ll get a full-featured overview of Breitbart content and articles [1].

What evidence is there that Breitbart is stifled by Google?

[0] https://www.google.com/search?q=trump+may+use+military+to+bu...

[1] https://www.google.com/search?q=breitbart

And just because one Party is really "evil" I can be as "evil" as I want unless I become the most "evil"? Really?

And you really Need an Explanation why a company adopts to reuls in specific country (not saying it is good thing) and treats a (fringe) news outlet differently (not sure if they actually do, so)?

The problem with this line of thought is that it is used to strongarm people with conventional right wing political views into silence by accusing them of harboring the taboo opinions you listed.

You cannot utter even the most platonic of right wing sentiments without the shrieks of frantic lunatics accusing you of being Hitler himself.

This idea of taboo subjects is exploited by nefarious far left activists, not for the cause of 'decency' or the preservation of western liberalism, but as a bludgeon to silence all thoughtcrime of the right.

No, it's not about "intolerant of people who are intolerant". There are actually a lot of people who are actually intolerant which are tolerated much better than a conservative in a liberal environment. Surely, the disagreement may be deeper on fundamentals, but the everyday tolerance would be worse.

> There's no reason anyone has to respect ethno-nationalist views against immigrants.

There's something called "political Turing test". The essence is that if you can not convincingly describe a position of an opposing side - in a way that they'd agree it is close to what they believe in - then you are not fit to discuss this position intelligently. Unfortunately, from the video is pretty clear almost nobody of those who spoke there would pass this test on anything related to anybody who voted for Trump. Yet they feel fully entitled to deny basic respect to people they didn't even bother to understand. And yet they feel smugly morally superior about it.


Narcissist finds it convienient to assume all who disagree with them are ethnonationalists.

treating people equally, regardless of gender, sexuality, or ethnic origin

This is a very vague statement, you can apply to your convenience. You could say Damore broke the principle and justify any penalty against him. I could say you don't follow this civility premise by choosing your partner based on your gender.

Every country in the world has "ethno-nationalist views against immigrants", and things work fine.

> Every country in the world has "ethno-nationalist views against immigrants", and things work fine.

For whom?

Pick any country in Asia.

The world would be $78 trillion richer if countries had open borders. So I'm not sure what definition you have for "fine".


This article is bunk. It makes unbased extrapolation from small-volume migration to a mass migration which has completely different set of problems. ObXKCD: https://www.xkcd.com/605/

It depends on what the meaning of the word "equally" is.

Only if definitions of "tolerance" and "equality" were that simple. Not all people on left are tolerant. As a Hindu I have found that the left is far more intolerant of Pagans that Christian conservatives in USA. Libertarians are easily one of the most tolerant of them all but the left does not like them either.

Painting people you don't like as "intolerant" and "deserving of persecution" was precisely how Hitler convinced Germans that it was okay to kill Jews.

This exactly. The common playbook now seems to be to hide racism and intolerance under the blanket of conservative and accusing anyone who opposes that to be against free speech and conservatives. These nonnegotiable values do not belong to the left or right, it belongs to the society as a whole.

No, the common playbook now seems to be to accuse anybody disagreeing with the hard left in racism and intolerance as an attempt to avoid any discussion with them and if possibly, demolish their personality and their life so nobody else would dare to speak up. While posing as "society as a whole" and taking on oneself to define what is nonnegotiable (which curiously seems to be exactly matching the views of whoever is declaring it) and unilaterally deciding that only the views the declarer holds or ones extremely similar to them are even worth discussing, and people not agreeing to them must be unpersoned.

Who decides these nonnegotiable values? Society as a whole? If half of the country voted for Trump and believes in his values, then half of the society that you are a part of has different nonnegotiable values. So these values are no longer nonnegotiable and are now very much just whatever values the majority holds.

Why do you assume the basic values differ between these two set of people. That is seeing people in black and white. Let us take a nonnegotiable value of not being racist. Are you implying that 50% of the people are racist. Nope - that is certainly not the case. People who voted for Trump might have voted for various other things - there might have been certain issues that they resonated with him, vote for Republican party etc. They might have voted for him despite his flaws.

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